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Fashion’s digitization is unfolding and it’s been accelerated by the pandemic.  

This year, China Fashion Week is collaborating with Chinese short-video platform Douyin’s E-commerce, to present the latest in fashion to audiences both online and offline. The bi-annual fashion event has morphed into a public digital spectacle now more than ever.  

While the virtual runway has made the exclusive event more accessible to the public, it has also opened up new possibilities for designers to interact with their consumers.  

Youci is a rising star in China’s accessories scene and the brand is making good use of the Douyin livestreaming platforms to expand its reach.  

“We are taking part in this year’s event both on and off line. During the day, we present our products at the Designer Hub Showroom. And at night, we turn to livestreams on Douyin,” Zhang Jiajie, the designer at Youci, told CGTN. “Since we are a relatively new brand, and this is our first attempt live-streaming on Douyin, it helps more consumers on Douyin to learn about us.”  

For the more established labels, joining the Fashion Week’s live-streaming broadcasts is an unconventional way for them to share their creative visions. The founder of Eachway, a homegrown Chinese brand, says learning how to verbalize her design concepts is important during these online presentations.  

China Fashion Week partners with Douyin Ecommerce platform to turn the fashion event digital. /CGTN

China Fashion Week partners with Douyin Ecommerce platform to turn the fashion event digital. /CGTN

“When I present my works on the catwalk, people’s focus is on the clothes…but when it’s delivered online, it’s more about the stories in designing them,” said Zhao Huizhou. “So through live-streaming, we share with consumers the visions we hold for our designs… it’s a direct way of communication.” 

While live-streaming is a growing trend in fashion, there’s still room for creative use of the medium. Looking back at the relatively short history of virtual fashion shows, Celine and Prada are noted for their strong digital competencies.

Fashion influencer and producer Peter Xu commended these two brands for their non-conventional use of digital platforms.  

A participating brand of China Fashion Week holding livestream on Chinese short-video platform Douyin. /CGTN

A participating brand of China Fashion Week holding livestream on Chinese short-video platform Douyin. /CGTN

“Celine and Prada, these two brands didn’t just do live-streaming for sales, they did it for branding, they had conversations, panel discussions of talents, fashion designers and photographers. They had conversations… so that kind of live-streaming is more interactive,” Xu told CGTN.

While live-streaming has opened up new possibilities for fashion events, Xu and many other industry professionals like to believe it’s necessary to take a step back from the consumer retail focused extravaganza to reflect on what the purpose of virtual fashion show is, and what more digital technology can do to revive fashion’s fortunes as it recovers from the pandemic.  

(Cover image: China Fashion Week live-streamed through Chinese short-video platform Douyin. /CGTN)



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